A technique is described for use in determining the reliability of microscopic conductors deposited on an uneven surface of an integrated circuit device. A wafer containing integrated circuit chips is formed with a test area having regions of different heights. At the time the conductors are formed on the chip areas of the wafer, an elongated serpentine assay conductor is deposited on the test area so the assay conductor extends over multiple steps between regions of different heights. Also, a first test conductor is deposited in the test area upon a uniform region of first height, and a second test conductor is deposited in the test area upon a uniform region of second height. The occurrence of high resistances at the steps between regions of different height is indicated by deriving the measured length of the serpentine conductor using the resistance measured between the ends of the serpentine conductor, and comparing that to the design length of the serpentine conductor. The percentage by which the measured length exceeds the design length, at which the integrated circuit will be discarded, depends on the required reliability of the integrated circuit.